AFSA National to Provide Structure for Collaboration, Education, and Support
For over 37 years, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) has provided a local connection for fire sprinkler contractors, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) to become part of a larger national organization through its network of local chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Recently, two of AFSA’s state affiliate organizations – the Alabama Fire Sprinkler Association and Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association – voted to become full-fledged AFSA chapters.
Adding to the growing network of AFSA chapters nationwide is the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association (GFSA). Founded in 1983, GFSA was founded to “promote, educate, and legislate” the fire sprinkler industry within Georgia; however, in recent years, the non-profit realized it needed additional support to grow. So, seeking to add strength to their numbers, the contractor members of GFSA voted to become the 31st chapter of AFSA.
“I am excited for the members of the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association to see the advantages of becoming an official chapter of the AFSA,” says GFSA Board Member Mindy McCullough Buckley, Allsouth Sprinkler Co. in Buford, Georgia. “With the educational seminars, online resources, legislative representation, annual convention, and the networking opportunities to make valuable professional contacts and access to a wealth of information, we are sure to become a more effective and productive association. I look forward to the help we will receive nationally to expand and enhance the GFSA.”
AFSA Membership Committee Chair and National Board Member Linda Biernacki of Fire Tech Systems in Shreveport, Louisiana; Region 5 Board Member Jeff Phifer Crawford Sprinkler Co. of South Carolina, Inc. in Lugoff, South Carolina; and Director of Member Services Bradley Elliott were on hand at GFSA’s October 9 membership meeting to advocate on behalf of AFSA.
Biernacki recalls, “I was so impressed with the contractors wanting to affiliate their chapter with the organization that best aligned with training and contractor support for their businesses. We know what contractors need because our board is comprised of contractor members who help develop these programs for our members. AFSA is a one-stop shop and the Georgia Chapter overwhelmingly voted to align their chapter with AFSA. We happy to welcome them to our growing family of chapters!”
AFSA’s chapters serve as a vehicle to support, enhance, and honor the dedicated skilled work being done in local regions and states, such as Alabama. On October 12, the Alabama Fire Sprinkler Association voted to become the 32nd local chapter of AFSA. “I have seen firsthand the importance and value in being a contracting member of the American Fire Sprinkler Association,” says Alabama Fire Sprinkler Association President Hunter Brendle of Brendle Sprinkler Co. in Montgomery, Alabama. “I am excited to see how that carries into our state association as well. With chapter grants, seminars, and a support system like no other, Alabama and our state association will greatly benefit from being a member of AFSA.”
Elliott joyfully celebrates AFSA’s steady growth over the past few years, noting the national organization only had 20 local chapters and four state affiliates two years ago. “I am overjoyed that the Alabama and Georgia affiliates have taken this step,” says Elliott. “I believe that AFSA can provide meaningful growth opportunities for both organizations and that working together we can ultimately strengthen the fire sprinkler industry in both states.”
Chapters provide a framework to increase awareness and provide connection to AFSA resources that help with education, support, and advocacy. To find your local chapter, visit firesprinkler.org/chapters.